(Please note - fish is not the only source of omega 3 acids. Flaxseed oil can contain twice as much as is found in fish oil!).
Flaxseeds (linseeds) (flaxseed oil has the highest linolenic(Omega-3) content of any food), flaxseeds, flaxseed meal, hempseed oil, hempseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens, collards, etc.), canola oil (cold-pressed and unrefined), soybean oil, wheat germ oil, salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, albacore tuna, and others.
One tablespoon per day of flaxseed oil should provide the recommended daily adult portion of Omega-3 (linolenic acid), although consuming nuts and other linolenic-rich foods is being studied, and considered more beneficial than a once-daily oil intake.
Unripe flaxseeds contain a natural form of cyanide, and home gardeners should be cautious if trying to grow flax. The seeds must be ripe before harvesting. If attempting to grow flax at home, consult an experienced grower.
Flaxseed oil as well as other Omega-3 nutrient or vitamin rich foods used for dietary supplementation should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer, and purchased from a supplier who refrigerates the liquid as well.
Canola oil is often used as a cheaper alternative to the healthier virgin olive and grapeseed oils. Although Canola has at least some omega-3 content, supermarket varieties of canola oil are often refined and processed with chemicals and heat, which destroy much of its linolenic acid. Cold-pressed, unrefined Canola oil is a healthier type of Canola (sometimes pricier than virgin olive oil), and found primarily in health food stores and specialty markets. The word "canola" is derived from "Canadian oil", as Canola was developed in Canada from the rape plant. Rape is a plant in the mustard family, and its rapeseed oil has at times been illegally blended with olive oil, particularly in Europe, to cheapen olive oil production costs. Although rapeseed oil is high in linolenic acid(omega-3), it can make humans seriously ill if enough is consumed, and olive oil cheapened with rapeseed oil has a history of severely sickening its consumers. (Every feel itchy after eating commercial brands of peanut butter? Check the label -- it probably contains rapeseed oil.) Canola was developed to eliminate chemicals toxic to humans in rapeseed oil, thus creating an inexpensive oil with linolenic acid. Unlike olive and flaxseed oil, both known to the ancients and used as mankind evolved, Canola is a recent oil, and its long-term effects on humans are not yet known.
Other Omega-3 foods include:
Don't use flax oil for cooking. Oils high in omega-3's as well as other essential fatty acids are not good for cooking. In fact, heat can turn these healthy fats into harmful ones. Add flax oil to foods after cooking and just before serving.
Flax has many virtues (Linolenic Acids (omega-3), phospholipids, lignans, vitamins and minerals), but it also has one vice: it turns rancid quickly. Healthy fats spoil quickly, with olive oil being an exception to the rule. (The fats with a long shelf life are the hydrogenated shortenings, which of course are bad for you.) To prevent spoilage, follow these tips:
Flax oil taken with a meal can actually increase the nutritional value of other foods . Research shows that adding flax oil to foods rich in sulfated amino acids, such as cultured dairy products (i.e., yogurt), vegetables of the cabbage family, and animal, seafood, and soy proteins helps the omega-3 essential fatty acids become incorporated into cell membranes. Mixing flax oil with yogurt helps to emulsify the oil, improving its digestion and metabolism by the body.
Flax oil works best in the body when it's taken along with antioxidants, such as vitamins E, carotene, and other nutrients, such as vitamin B6 and magnesium. While a tablespoon of flax oil a day might not keep the doctor away entirely, it's bound to help.